There are two men cricket teams in India that have taken the World by the storm. One is the national cricket team led by Virat Kohli and the other is the blind cricket team, that recently won the Blind World Cup.
John David, Secretary of Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) said in an interview to India Today that Kohli and his men should play a blindfold match against the blind cricket side to understand the level of difficulty. India’s blind cricket team has also won 50-overs World Cup, two T20 World Cups, two Asia Cups and four bilateral series in the recent past but are still fighting for recognition from BCCI.
Up for a match between Kohli’s team and blind cricket team, David said, “They (the national cricket team) played a demo match where the Indian team was blindfold. Ravindra Jadeja was kneeling down and searching for the ball and Rohit mocked giving a tap on the head, you can’t even trace the ball. People will know about the level of difficulty that goes in playing cricket without eyesight. Our team got to play a bit against the mainstream Indian team in 2015. Ravi Shastri bowled and commented, If I shut my eyes for a moment, I don’t know where I am. It’s not as easy as it appears.”
Attending a media meet at BCCI headquarters along with David was CABI President Mahantesh who said, “Last week we met BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and he was positive and the COA head Vinod Rai has also noted the progress we have made. We are feeling happy with the progress and in touch to move things forward. Soon the BCCI will announce support and cash rewards. With their support we can take things forward.”
Speaking on the problems faced by the blind cricket team, Mahantesh said, “They have problem of leaves. For example, we were together during the World Cup for 50 days. Many have to manage jobs, family and concentrate on cricket also. There was a partially blind cricketer who played for us in the 2014 World Cup who was a daily labourer – working as construction worker. He was sitting in a corner and as we inquired told us about problems he had at home. All the players contributed and helped.”
“Now if someone is earning 400 rupees a day, he loses 20000 for giving up daily job and though blind also has to take care of the house. If we come under sports quota, it’s easy to get leaves.”
David added that the blind cricket side looks up at the national team players and even call each other by the names of national players for inspiration. “Some like Sachin, some Virat. They give names to each other as well. There is a boy Venkatesh we have, who boys call Virat. Our keeper is called Dhoni. He is very quick. If you give him a chance he will not lose an opportunity. So he is a very popular wicket keeper. We also have a Sehwag who says I only want to hit. They love the Indian cricket team.